There are certain places around the U.S., every American feels they must visit. Places that make up our nation's heritage. Places considered natural treasures. Think an Alaskan cruise, the Statue of Liberty, Washington D.C.'s monuments, and the national parks. Hawaii is that kind of place. And the best way to live the Hawaiian dream is to take a cruise to the four main islands aboard the Pride of America by Norwegian Cruise Line.

This 2500 passenger ship departs Honolulu every Saturday for a 7-night sailing to Maui, Hilo, Kona, and Kauai. It is the quintessential destination immersion cruise with overnight stays and more time in port. In fact 100 hours in port. I saw all the main islands in just one week in the most convenient way aboard my floating hotel.

This is a mainstream American experience in the style of traditional cruising. Americans make up the majority of the friendly, smiling staff onboard unlike the international staff and crew I see on most cruise ships. But this cruise was also a Hawaiian experience from the minute I boarded the ship.

Norwegian Cruise Line offers free-style dining which means I did not have a set time in the same restaurant every night. With the number of restaurants on Pride of America, I was able to enjoy a different one every night. All menus featured popular items classically prepared the way most people like. Fine dining can be enjoyed in several a-la-carte restaurants serving choice meats, fresh fish, and other familiar dishes for special occasions such as a cruise.

Traditional cruise ship entertainment each night features talented singers and dancers, musicians, magicians, and comedians. There are no Broadway productions as seen on the really big ships. I found the entertainment and activities geared to what everyone has grown up on. There is no casino, as gaming is illegal in Hawaii.

Hawaii is the ultimate adventure travel destination and Pride of America offers it all. I could choose from kayaking on the Wailua River, snorkeling among green sea turtles, biking down Haleakala on Maui, hiking to waterfalls, and much more. I could absorb Hawaiian culture with visits to farms and ranches, by eating Maui Gold fresh pineapple, sipping Kona or Kauai coffee, drinking organic vodka and rum made from sugar cane, and singing with the performers at a luau.

There are gorgeous sunrise and sunset activities. I did both, numerous times during the week. I went walking and shopping in small towns and viewed some of the most dramatic landscapes and breathtaking scenery in the world. I was drawn to all the iconic sites and images of Hawaii. This is the American South Pacific and Norwegian Cruise Lines made it easy for me to experience it all aboard Pride of America.

John Werner

As a 45 year veteran of the travel industry and the President of MAST Travel Network since 2002, John’s career has included 14 years as a travel agency owner. He has served in various capacities on the Board of the Midwest Chapter of ASTA including Treasurer and Vice President. John has also held several positions on the Board of Directors for MAST including Vice Chairman and Board Chairman during the years he owned Travel Group International, a MAST member during the 1990s.